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"North Carolina Now" Airs Segments on Asthma and Nanotech

By Eddy Ball
September 2006

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(Logo courtesy of WUNC-TV)

As its lead story on the August 25 broadcast of "North Carolina Now," UNC-TV aired a segment on asthma research. The program featured interviews with NIEHS researchers by UNC-TV journalist Kelly McCullen and footage of lab facilities. Asthma has long been a high-priority (Logo courtesy of WUNC-TV) interest at NIEHS, and public television has showcased NIEHS research into this major threat to respiratory health several times in the past. For this most recent segment, McCullen interviewed NIEHS Director David Schwartz along with Senior Scientists Stephanie London (Epidemiology Branch) and Darryl Zeldin (Clinical Studies Section of the Respiratory Biology Branch) about new developments in the efforts to discover ways to help the increasing number of sufferers with the condition.

A second "North Carolina Now" feature involving NIEHS will air in late September. The show will highlight cutting-edge research by NIEHS scientists into potential health risks posed by release of increasing numbers of nano-, or ultra-fine, particles into the environment as byproducts of nanotechnology manufacturing. Because exposure to nanoparticles is an emerging health concern resulting from the rapid growth of the technology, this program will be the first by "North Carolina Now" on the topic. Grants Administrator Sally Tinkle (Division of Extramural Research and Training) and Senior Scientist Nigel Walker (Toxicology Operations Branch) will join Risk Assessment Liaison Christopher Portier for interviews with Cullen about the possible health problems associated with exposure to nanoparticles.

The segments are the most recent accomplishment in an ongoing collaboration between NIEHS and UNC-TV to inform the public of environmental health issues. Unfortunately for NIEHS and many viewers, these shows are among the final ones to be aired on "North Carolina Now." Produced by Shannon Vickery and anchored by Mitchell Lewis, the respected series has fallen victim to a budget and fundraising shortfall for fiscal year 2007. The station intends to release details soon about more limited programming to fill the news gap created by cancellation of the show. "North Carolina Now" has proved especially helpful over the years in informing the public about the important, ground-breaking research performed at NIEHS and funded by NIEHS grant awards.

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